A Palestinian teenager released from prison by Israel on Sunday after completing a sentence for kicking and slapping an Israeli soldier called for Palestinians to continue their struggle against occupation of the West Bank.
Ahed Tamimi, 17, became a heroine to Palestinians after the incident last December outside her home in Nabi Saleh, a village which has campaigned for years against land seizures by Israel, leading to confrontations with Israel’s military and Jewish settlers.
Israelis saw the incident, which Tamimi’s mother relayed live on Facebook, as a staged provocation.
Tamimi, who was 16 at the time of her detention, faced 12 charges, including aggravated assault. In March, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge sheet that included assault and was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment, dating back to her arrest in December.
Wearing her trademark black-and-white chequered Arab scarf, Tamimi greeted dozens of well-wishers in brief remarks outside the home of a Nabi Saleh villager killed by Israeli forces.
“From this martyr’s house, I say: resistance is continuing until the occupation is removed,” she told reporters, adding:
All the female prisoners in jail are strong, and I thank everyone who stood by me while I was in prison.
She scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. (1300 GMT).
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in a statement published by the official news agency Wafa after he met Tamimi and her mother, described the teenager as:
a model of peaceful civil resistance…, proving to the world that our Palestinian people will stand firm and constant on their land, no matter what the sacrifice
Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. Most countries consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank to be illegal, something Israel disputes.
Tamimi’s case drew global attention and Amnesty International said after her conviction that her sentence was at odds with international law, saying imprisonment of a minor must be used only as a last resort for the shortest appropriate period of time.